Forest district expected to award contract for trail connection at Route 45 in Gurnee
Work on a key trail connection linking Gurnee neighborhoods with the Rollins Savanna Forest Preserve and beyond likely will begin in May.
The Lake County forest board on Tuesday is expected to approve a contract for $393,791 with Copenhaver Construction Inc. of Gilberts to build the 0.4-mile trail link and associated work.
The connection would extend from the existing trail system in the northeast part of Rollins Savanna to Route 45 and Dada Drive. A mowed grass trail that connects with Sunshine Avenue west of Route 45 would be abandoned.
Besides the trail, the project involves modification of the traffic signal at the busy intersection, ADA compliant concrete ramps and pedestrian crosswalk pavement markings.
Asphalt roads, parking areas and a vehicle entrance along Route 45, which remain from the previous land owner, would be removed as part of the project.
Providing public access and connections are among the forest district's strategic directives. In this case, the district has been working with the village of Gurnee.
This project would provide more than 2,800 households -- or more than 8,500 residents -- direct and safe access to Rollins Savanna and the Millennium Trail, according to Randy Seebach, director of planning and land preservation for the forest preserve district.
"Based on the number of residents that we are reaching, we felt that the funding allocated for this project was a pretty good return on our investment," he said.
Gurnee in spring 2018 built a 1,300-foot-long asphalt path on Knowles Road from the end of an existing village trail along the ComEd right of way south to Dada Drive. At that point, the sidewalk on the north side of Dada was widened to Route 45.
That work was completed last summer in anticipation of pending projects by the forest preserve district and Illinois Department of Transportation to ensure a safe crossing for trail users at a heavily traveled intersection.
Increased walkability was the top desire of Gurnee residents during the village's strategic planning process in 2015, said Jack Linehan, assistant to the village administrator.
A commission on walkability and pedestrian improvements was formed, and the 8-foot-wide Knowles Road path was among the recommendations. It was considered a priority because of the number of residents that will gain access, Linehan said.
And there is more to come. Funding is included in Gurnee's 2019-20 budget to extend the Knowles Road path from the ComEd right of way north to Rollins Road. From there, it will be extended northeast to Scarborough Drive, but that won't be done until a new water tower on Knowles is completed in 2020.
The forest preserve project is expected to be done by Nov. 1.
Copenhaver Construction was the second-lowest of eight bids. The low bid of $277,900 by Chicagoland Paving Contractors Inc. of Lake Zurich was deemed nonresponsive and rejected because the company did not submit letters involving insurance and performance bonds.